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Career profile Lawyer

Also known as Assistant Attorney General, Assistant Counsel, Associate Attorney, Attorney, Attorney at Law, City Attorney, Deputy Attorney General, General Counsel, Lawyer

Lawyer

Also known as Assistant Attorney General, Assistant Counsel, Associate Attorney

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
Pay Range
$61,490 - $208,000+ (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Law and Government
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits, or legal rights and obligations.
  • Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
  • Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges, and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
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What does a Lawyer do?

Lawyers represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions.

In addition, Lawyers may specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

What kind of tasks does a Lawyer perform regularly?

Lawyers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits, or legal rights and obligations.
  • Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
  • Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges, and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
  • Interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses.
  • Present evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation.
  • Represent clients in court or before government agencies.
  • Study Constitution, statutes, decisions, regulations, and ordinances of quasi-judicial bodies to determine ramifications for cases.
  • Present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
  • Prepare, draft, and review legal documents, such as wills, deeds, patent applications, mortgages, leases, and contracts.
  • Negotiate settlements of civil disputes.
  • Supervise legal assistants.
  • Examine legal data to determine advisability of defending or prosecuting lawsuit.
  • Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions by such means as interviewing clients and witnesses to ascertain the facts of a case.
  • Evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments in preparation for presentation of cases.
  • Prepare legal briefs and opinions, and file appeals in state and federal courts of appeal.
  • Search for and examine public and other legal records to write opinions or establish ownership.
  • Perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law.
  • Confer with colleagues with specialties in appropriate areas of legal issue to establish and verify bases for legal proceedings.

The above responsibilities are specific to Lawyers. More generally, Lawyers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Providing Consultation and Advice to Others
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

What is a Lawyer salary?

The median salary for a Lawyer is $126,930, and the average salary is $148,910. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Lawyer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Lawyers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Lawyers earn less than $61,490 per year, 25% earn less than $84,450, 75% earn less than $189,520, and 90% earn more than $208,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Lawyers is expected to change by 8.9%, and there should be roughly 46,000 open positions for Lawyers every year.

Median annual salary
$126,930
Typical salary range
$61,490 - Over $208,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
8.9%

What personality traits are common among Lawyers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Lawyer are usually higher in their Enterprising, Investigative, and Artistic interests.

Lawyers typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Lawyers typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Lastly, Lawyers typically have moderate Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Lawyer tend to value Recognition, Achievement, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Lawyers very strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Second, Lawyers very strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Lawyers very strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Lawyers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, analytical thinking, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Lawyers, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Lawyers need?

Many Lawyers have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Lawyers may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Lawyers

  • 0.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 0.5% completed high school or secondary school
  • 0.7% completed some college coursework
  • 0.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 4.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 88.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Lawyers

Lawyers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as law and government, customer and personal service, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Lawyers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Personnel and Human Resources
Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Lawyers

Lawyers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Lawyers need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Lawyers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Lawyers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Lawyers frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Lawyers, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.